By: Eric Elliot
The Dingman Center is lucky to be a part of a fantastic community filled with motivated student and alumni entrepreneurs. To celebrate this strong spirit of entrepreneurship at UMD, we hosted Entrepreneurship Day on Tuesday, April 17, which featured student startups at Terp Marketplace during the afternoon and serial technology entrepreneur Raul Fernandez at the Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series later that evening.
Terp Marketplace was an opportunity for student startups to showcase and sell their products & services directly to the Smith community. This semester, we had a huge turnout from students, staff, faculty and alumni who were eager to see the 30 startups on display. A few participants featured included Pitch Dingman Competition second place winner Brianna Queen ’18 of BEEQBOX with her popular F*ckboy Repellent illuminating setting spray, and alumni startup FroDoh, who brought samples of their tasty frozen doughnut holes. The students who participated have taken part in our Fearless Founders Accelerator program, Ladies First Founders or Professor David Kressler’s 461 Entrepreneurship class.
Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series featuring Raul Fernandez
UMD alumnus and highly successful entrepreneur Raul Fernandez ’90 traveled to Van Munching Hall for an intimate conversation with Robert Hisaoka ’79 on his experiences in entrepreneurship. As the former founder of Proxicom and currently the Vice Chairman and Owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Raul shared some of the key lessons he learned through his journey and valuable pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Learn How To Learn”
Raul noted how important it is to be able to learn and adapt quickly in today’s society. Technology for example has been growing exponentially and being able to master its benefits is tantamount to success. He encourages students to understand the importance of looking beyond the classroom and apply their learning to real-life business situations to be ready for life after graduation.
“Take a Chance”
Raul was young when he started his first business. That didn’t faze him, however, as he always knew that if he messed up, he would have time to try again and recover from his mistakes. Raul pushed students to pursue their ideas and aspirations thanks to the increasing number of resources to help start and scale a business.
“Understand Why You Lose”
Being the owner of many sports teams, Raul has experienced what it feels like to lose. Often, you have to wait a whole 365 days for even the chance to do it again. This philosophy applies to business as well for whenever he loses or fails to secure a deal, he seeks to understand the exact reasons why they lost so they’re more prepared for the next time. He leaves students with the message to spend more time investigating your losses rather than celebrating your wins.
At the end of the Speaker Series event, we raffled off a gift basket filled with goodies and prizes collected from both the startups at Terp Marketplace and from the Dingman Center. The lucky winner was Jack Bischoff ’20.